Building Renovation Discontinued- Building Receives Temporary Condemned
Status Pending Results of Private Investigation.
Ten workers so far have been seriosly injured, among them three killed
due to the "unusual working conditions" as has been cited in the
Worker's Comp. and other insurance case reports. I felt a hideous kind
of cold shiver run across my back,as I read this. I was that private
investigator, hired for the most unusual case I had ever tackled.
One of the things I enjoy most about this job, is the relative freedom
of time and technique it afforded me. Now , as I read the background
documents at home, I felt the sudden urge to turn on some more
lights., and lock the front door. I needed rational thought and bright
lights to get me thru this one successfully.
I skipped over to the pictures in the file while I made myself a cup of
coffee. They were the standard police shots of the various "accidents"
and the three autopsy pictures , that had closed down the building. The
last one of the series was the most interesting (to me) and the most
It showed a black figure underneath the scaffolding, apparently standing
on the steel girders that supported the men while on the scaffold. This
figure did not have any distinguishing features, but seemed "blacked
out" in the film. The picture had been initialized on the back by the
attorney general's office to indicate that they at least were regarding
it as hard evidence in the court case that was building with the
insurance companies and the worker's union.
No authorized union could be found willing to work on this building, in
the city once the media had had their propaganda machine sensationalize
the death findings in the papers. I shruged my shoulders. It was a free
speech and press democracy we still had. It made my job a little easier.
I studied the picture a little closer. It showed evidence of being worn
already. It was obvious many people had handled it. The name of the
photographer was not visible . I would have to find that person, was my
first thought. I had a whole bundle of questions to ask him/her about
the conditions that generated the picture.
From there, the case could go in any direction, but the relatives of
the dead men, the injured men in hospital who could still talk
coherantly, and any other leads these people generated, would probably
be my first line of attack on this case. After having read most of the
documentation, I closed the file, and glanced at my watch. !2:30 am,
and time to call it a night.
I gathered up the pictures I had spread over the coffee table in order
to see them better. Then I noticed something unusual I hadn't seen
before. In the left hand corner of this same picture, was another
statue- like figure, that looked like the Catholic Virgin Mary.
" What was that doing there, on a Renovation site?" I thought.
It just didn't fit in. Just like a person or statue under the
scaffolding didn't fit in.
The presence of a religious icon from the main religion of the workers
in the union that had been doing the work, was either a deliberate
appeal to the virgin Mary for protection and blessing for the workers,
or a source of religious hysteria, (or both). Talking to workers who
knew of the statue, and were Catholic believers in the Intercession of
the Virgin, was going to make my job getting down to the truth so much
harder. I felt my shoulders hunch up and stiffen as I preapred for this
unexpected source of irrational/emotional cultural hysteria, in the
case. And, I made a mental note to go see the bishop of the nearby
Catholic Cathedral first thing tomorrow morning.
I gathered the pics together, then noticed something that totally
The virgin Mary statue was bleeding right through the photographic paper.
Writing by Regina Stemberger